Final Comments on My Filming Experience:
Late yesterday I finished my part of the filming on Inalienable. I got my first direction today as the director told me he wanted me to react with horror to the (pretend) showing of a video in court. So I had time to think of how to react. Through all the hearing my laptop was open, but during the final scene, we shot yesterday, I had chosen to keep it closed. For this scene, I decided my reaction would include slowly closing my laptop cover as I stared at the screen. After the first take no one told me to try it a different way for the second, so it must have been all right.

Everyone involved in the production was so warm and generous. When an actor finishes his role, they announce to the crew and cast the "production wrap" for that actor and everyone applauds. Yesterday was Marina's and my production wrap. Naturally, she got well-deserved cheers for a terrific performance. I have had several women prosecutors as role models in my career and, as I sat next to her, I really felt she was the real thing. As I write this, I am now reminded of when I was a law student assisting then-Suffolk County ADA Alice Richmond in a murder case when she let me sit at counsel table. Although I knew more about the law than Marina, she was the authority figure for the acting thing. But she really is a natural as a courtroom attorney. I hope she goes up for and gets a part on her beloved Law and Order. Hell, if Shatner can do it. . . I told her to think about going to law school if the day ever came when she was not getting enough work as an actor.

After the wrap, the director came up said nice things about my contributions. Frankly, although he said many things, the only comment of his I can recall was: "You really know how to handle yourself on a movie set" (or words to that effect). I thought this was very high praise coming from him, and says something about the issues I discussed in my previous posts.

After that, the associate producer told me that everyone up here (meaning in the courtroom set where we were standing) was a professional actor and no one could have told that I was not as well. Indeed, for all four days everyone seemed to think that, although I was lawyer, I was also an actor. (During the shoot, more than a few commented that I looked like a real prosecutor on the video. One said I was very well cast.) I had to tell several of the principals that I already had the job I wanted and was unlikely ever to do this again. People who are not academics just don't get what a great career this is--you can even do the occasional movie part!

As I was on my way off the the set, I could not leave because they were recording a voice over of the clerk announcing the case and the court. I stood at the door with my hand on the knob, I was not really paying attention as he did it three times then everyone started gathering up their equipment, but his last words rung in my ear "The United States District Court of Columbia." Of Columbia? I turned to the associate producer, who was standing next to me, and said, "that's not right, did he say it that way every time?" He said "let's see." As everyone was gathering their things and closing down their equipment, we got the script and saw it was written wrong. The director of sound called everyone back together and had them rerecord it with "for the District of Columbia" instead. Then I left the set for the last time.

The producer who was responsible for my involvement in the film told me to come back to the studio as they shoot the rest of the film over the next 10 days. I told him I would. But as I drove to Orange County to stay with my parents, I realized that would be a big mistake. The past four days have been as close to a perfect fantasy experience as I have ever had and, for a TV and movie fan, I think is even possible to have.

Not only was I able to act in a feature film, I was there because of my legal experience and knowledge (which I used as a script consultant before the filming) and was treated as an authority on the set, not just as an amateur intruder, who could add something of value to the production. Everyone was so supportive and respectful throughout. I was always included as an equal at meals or other informal gatherings. Just as I loved hearing all their movie/TV stories (which they love to tell), they loved hearing my legal ones about my time as a prosecutor or arguing in the Supreme Court. When the cast publicity photo was taken yesterday at the bench, there was no question but that I was included with the other "name" actors and the director. Amazing! Possibly the best part was getting spend 4 days at counsel table for hours at a time with Marina Sirtis, a most intelligent and engaging person. And I had watched every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and seen every Star Trek film. So I was a real fan of hers on top of everything else. We actually worked together on our parts, coordinating our moves, exchanging glances, etc. She and I were able to talk about everything and she is nothing if not open and candid. And I also had lengthy intense conversations with Walter Koenig and Eric Avari as well. Eric is a really personable and sweet guy.

So I don't think I will go back. Anything that happens now cannot help but be anticlimactic. And I don't want to do anything to diminish what is going to be a memory I will always treasure.